Sunday, February 05, 2012

Seeing through the fog of slow races

I've been on a 'running streak' that as of today has lasted 65 days. The idea came from Karla when I read via Twitter about the Runner's World challenge to run every day between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Must say that I'm enjoying my daily runs, but am sensible enough to run a very easy 4 or 5k day if I feel the need.

My weekly mileage is around 70 to 80 kilometres. I thought I'd mention a couple of recent races because I'm coming around to the view that I can't race at 100% effort every week (as a soon-to-be 55-year-old) and expect to race well. A recent article from Running Times about how aging runners train (Keeping the Fire of Youth) is worth reading.

On January 25 I raced a 3000 metres on the track in 12:59.93 (missing a season's best by 3/1000ths of a second!). My taper for this race was 1 day — an easy 5k on the day before the race. My average heart-rate for the race was 149. My legs didn't feel fresh enough to run at my 'normal' 3k racing heart-rate of 152 to 155. On Tuesday 31 January I raced 5k cross-country race on the grass course at Stromlo in 23:30. For this race I noted in my diary: "legs tired in warm-up; not much better in race." My average heart-rate for the race was 146. Last November I raced a 5k in 22:22 with an average heart-rate of 152. My number of heart-beats per km for the November race was 680 and for the recent race at Stromlo, 686 (on a harder course). What all these numbers tell me is that while I can 'train through' races (using them as a hard training session), I can't expect great results from these races. I could at age-45, but not at age-55.

Now, apart from a few foggy races, I'm happy with how my running is going. I've done a couple of runs on the grass track at Calwell and come up with similar numbers to those I recorded in 2007 (the year of some M50 PBs), so aerobically I'm feeling as fit as a Mallee bull. I think I'll target two races for proper tapers (3 to 4 days) — the 10,000m on 16 February and the 5000m on 29 March.

Stromlo Forest Park is a great place to run!
The lovely grass of Stromlo Forest Park [D Appleby photo]


Blogger Black Knight said...

- 70/80 km per week is a very good mileage: perfect for a marathon;
- to run every day is a dream for me, my limit is 4 days per week or I get injured (the infamous left leg);
- 2 races in 2 weeks, without tapering and on the grass, with those good finishing times are a success, congrats.
- Welcome to the new age group.

6:54 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

You're on target for a good 10000m and 5000m if it all goes to plan. Question is, will your or Geoff be the first to 20:12 in 2012??

I hope to back up to 70/80K per week in the near future, great training mileage!

Phew M55 soon, that means you escape the speedy new M50!

8:01 pm  
Blogger Andrew said...

Being fit as a Mallee bull should be everyone's goal. Great on your consistent running!

9:03 pm  
Blogger strewth said...

Keep on that running streak speedyewen. It seems to be working for you and you still need to catch CJ:)

10:10 pm  
Blogger Andrew(ajh) said...

One day in a row would be an achievement for me at the moment.

11:46 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Training through a race is a perfectly good thing to do - if you regard them as a hard training effort, in order to build up your fitness for a goal race.

Otherwise, as Lydiard said many, many years ago, you can't train hard and race well at the same time.

9:36 am  
Blogger RICK'S RUNNING said...

I'm glad your running and racing well.
Right now I can hardly put one foot in front of the other without a great deal of pain!

2:25 pm  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

It's great to read that your running is going well! Yay. Looking forward to some good race reports from you. :)

2:33 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks Stefano. You're racing well on 4 runs per week. Yes, good mileage for a marathon but my longest runs are 15k, so I think I'd hit the wall ;)

Janene, I've put $100 with Betfair on Geoff to be first to 20:12. I'll be happy if I follow him at some stage. And I miss racing Trevor Jacobs in the M55s too :)

Thanks Andrew. Maybe not your goal. Mallee bulls don't go too well in snow ;)

Strewth, I'm going to tie CJ's shoelaces together, then I'll catch her!

Andrew, I think the minimum is three days to make a row ;) I'm sure you could put together a good streak of cycling.

Thomas, that's what I'll do (use them as a hard training effort). And those are great words from the Master.

Rick, hang in there. You need to get back to running soon so you don't miss the English summer :)

Thanks Lize. I like writing race reports - especially when there's some good racing and a satisfying time at the end of it.

8:12 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is great that you run so consistently. One of the major issue with aging, described so eloquently in Robinson’s article on sustaining the fire of youth, is decreasing ability to cope with a heavy load of training and racing. Your inclusion of easier runs has allowed you to train with relatively little trouble from injury.

At any age it is sensible to identify a small number of target races in a season and employ periodization on both long and short timescales (including at least a degree of taper in the days preceding a target event) to bring you to peak. So targeting a specific 5000 and 10,000 sounds to be a good plan. Good luck.

8:37 am  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

Wow, my streak only made it 40 days and I was happy to end it there. My body just needs those days off too much. Good luck keeping it going as long as you decide to keep it going.

12:03 pm  
Blogger Janene said...

Good run at the XC today. All looking good for those key races. Looks like you are on the money re first to 20:12. 20:14 is oh so close!

8:21 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Canute, that's what I'm finding with the easy runs. Consistency is high on my list of priorities and easy runs help with that. I've never really planned for periodization in the past but it's something I will do in the future.

RJR, you're doing some super-hard training days so rest days are probably advisable.

Janene, yes! Wish I'd put more than $100 on him ;) Also wish today's course wasn't short!

9:08 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

The Garmin said 20:12. The Garmin never lies. The Garmin also said 4.86k. The Garmin obviously lies.

10:34 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

The results said 20:13. The results never lie. My Garmin said 4.90k and reckons your Gamin took a short-cut.

9:12 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

65 days? Amazing! That's almost my age! Catch up!

6:15 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Forgot....had a call from Bruce this morning during my long run.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Luckylegs, according to CJ I'm up to #74 today so will surpass your age next week.

Would have been a brief chat to Bruce - his cheap weekend calls stop at 10 minutes ;)

8:41 pm  
Blogger Sling Runner said...

Perhaps when you train through races the next time, you can consider this:

Mo Farah doing tempo workout right after a race

and the article..

12:31 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Sling, thanks for those links. Interesting. I'll give that a try - especially as my race distances are 5k or less.

9:08 pm  

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